Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Church Update...

Dear Friends,
I was recently teaching at Advance Memphis' Job's for Life class. It is aclass designed to train adults who desire to get into the work force. I wasteaching on the life of David. I described how God went to great lengths tocatalogue David's sin, the man after God's own heart. I told them that, yesafter being anointed King, he committed adultery, lied and killed. One ofthe men in the class had never heard that before. He got angry and told mehe was going to read it for himself. He didn't believe me!
We so want to believe that God uses strong people because we want to bestrong. But God uses, "...the weak to shame the strong, the things that arenot to nullify the things that are."
The night of the fire all of my neighbors witnessed me cry at least once.That was my first introduction to one neighbor. His wife cooked us dinner.Lasagna in individually wrapped packages so we could just heat the servingsup. She made these crab meat cheesy spread things placed on top of anEnglish muffin, pasta salad and some kind of cheese dip. All of it wasamazing! The husband has dropped by to check on us more than once.
Strength separates us. At the points I am stronger, I am better, or so Ithink. Weakness unites. There is nothing threatening about weakness. What ifwe all got together to see who could cry the most. It just doesn't work. Itdoesn't because weakness is not competitive like strength. Yet, when one iscrying, something happens in us all. We want do something. When one teambeats another, the winning team goes out for beer, but the loosing team goeshome. Weakness compels us toward one another and builds community.
God is much wiser than us all. God, in using the weak to shame the strong,is using my weakness to shame me. I have been praying for God to create anew community for this church plant in downtown. I have been praying for Godto bring together hundreds of people who might be willing to pray for thischurch. Yet, I have been praying for God to enable and show ME how to dothese. With one small spark, he has thrust me, us, into the lives of morepeople than we know and ignited more prayer than we could have everproduced! In the process, he has humbled me. I haven't even thought aboutthe church plant for a week. Yet, He has been busy at work, planting,building, igniting! I am so small, He is so big.
Now, don't walk away and think, "This is why the Rieves' house burned." Thatmerely reduces God to One whose purposes we can figure out. That is kinda ofthe point. We will never figure it nor Him out. However, He promised to workall things for good, that means even evil. So we can rejoice in Him whosegood purposes are running deep even and especially when we FEEL theopposite. He never sleeps nor slumbers. He never takes a day off. He isalways at work and He is good. May we all remember that, especially in ourweakest moments!
~ Thank God again for sparing us. I am retelling the story a number of timesa day. With each retelling I am overwhelmed with how different the outcomecould have been if the fire had occurred in the night. There were only acouple of hours in that day that someone was not home. That is not acoincidence!
~ Patience, perseverance and grace. It is easy to drown in the details. Praythat we will see a Father who loves us and not get too lost in the details.Rachel is having to remember every item in her kitchen. While doing so lastnight, she remembered a painting of Whitney that a Memphis artist and friendpainted as a gift. That is irreplaceable. Pray for peace.
~ We are looking at a house today to rent. Please pray that we might find aplace on Mud Island really soon. Like today!
~ Amy Katherine's play starts with a matinee in the morning!
~ I meet with the new insurance adjuster tomorrow. We will have to settlethe discrepancy between his direction and the first adjuster's directions. Ihave received good counsel from qualified folks. So pray for wisdom on howto best communicate and reconcile.
Please know we are not tired of hearing how you all are praying. Itencourages us more that you can know.
Much love and grace,
The Rieves

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